Valentine, schmalentine

There’s plenty of bile directed against Valentine’s Day on my Instagram feed this morning, mainly from single people by the looks of things. I suppose that’s understandable – having romance rubbed in your face by people proudly showing off their perfect love lives isn’t much fun. However, I’ve been in a relationship for years, and I’m no fan of it either.

The shine wore off not long into my married life, when I attempted to arrange a Valentine surprise for the Journeywoman. I booked something that looked like it would be a nice afternoon out for us both, but it relied upon being somewhere at a specific time…and a public transport delay ruined everything. Instead of a fun, romantic time, we had an argument instead, and a very unpleasant atmosphere prevailed in the house for a good few days afterwards.

It made me realise that, however nice romantic gestures are, they can’t be forced, and you can’t feel romantic on a particular day just because you think you should. Love, affection and romance need to be genuine things, and the ghastly marketing and hype around Valentine’s Day has made me realise that people are just trying to make money out of you, and that romantic gestures on the other 364 days of the year are about a million times more meaningful. Quite apart from anything else, have you ever tried going to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day? They’re horrible places! They’re packed full of stressed-out people trying to pretend they’re having fun, and the staff are all run ragged trying to keep up!

I’d strongly recommend turning your back on the horrible commercial nonsense of it, and celebrate your love some other way. Come up with your own traditions and celebrations, and mark things that matter to you, in ways that don’t swell the coffers of big companies that are trying to make you feel a certain way.

Quite apart from anythng else, I don’t think there’s enough recognition of non-romantic love out there, and that’s a shame – besides my wife and my family, there’s a number of people in my life that I love very much, because they’re loyal and wonderful friends, who are kind and funny and caring and great to be around, and I think it’s a shame that we don’t tell people like them that we love them too. Maybe we should.

Whatever you’re doing today, whether you’re celebrating or not, I hope you have fun, but don’t fall for the hype – love is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day.

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